Tuesday, August 08, 2017

If Google did heavy lifting ...

Following on from the James Damore affair (read first).

Suppose Google's business involved heavy, manual construction work. The relevant Division is full of tough, strong endomorph types. They are mostly male with a smattering of shot-putter women.

Top software development is the mental equivalent of this level of performance ..

The HR people go crazy. This tip of the company spear is shockingly male-dominated, showing entrenched .. well, you know. They demand more diversity training and proactive affirmative action hiring. We want a 50-50 equal gender ratio. And we want it now.

A Damore-equivalent naïf observes that men are on average quite a bit stronger than women. That any women who can hack it are more than welcome in the Division. But biologically there just aren't that many applicants compared to qualified men. Going for 50-50 is going to be a stretch. Perhaps this equality of outcomes thing is, well, .. inappropriate?

As Google's CEO fires him, does he still say this?
"However, portions of the memo violate our Code of Conduct and cross the line by advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace. Our job is to build great products for users that make a difference in their lives.

To suggest a group of our colleagues have traits that make them less biologically suited to that work is offensive and not OK. It is contrary to our basic values and our Code of Conduct, which expects “each Googler to do their utmost to create a workplace culture that is free of harassment, intimidation, bias and unlawful discrimination.”
Plainly the female employees of the Division - by virtue of the fact they were hired in the first place and are meeting the standards - are not  'less biologically suited'. No one said otherwise.

But comparison of the male-female population distributions for physical body strength indicates that women in the general population are 'less biologically suited'. It's why we have separate male and female sports events.

Female-Male trait distributions overlap, but are sometimes not identical.
If you're hiring for extreme values of such a trait, don't be surprised

 if the applicant pool sizes differ quite substantially.

I'm not sure the CEO's sophistry would work for physical strength employment. But cognitive and personality traits are not so obvious at a glance and playing word-games is easier.


Further reading.

*  "Women's Brains" - male-female comparison: Human Connectome project (N = 900).

*  "Women and Minorities in Science"  - a typically-erudite analysis from La Griffe.

*  "Sex Differences in Mathematical Aptitude" - La Griffe analysis relevant to software dev.

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